Police forces: Hundreds of sexual misconduct allegations made against serving officers, data reveals

·4-min read

Hundreds of sexual misconduct allegations have been made against serving police officers across Britain between 2016 and 2020.

At least 750 accusations were made against officers during that time, according to figures from 31 police forces obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Complaints could relate to historic allegations and most were against male officers, the data shows.

The responses did not indicate whether the officers were on duty at the time of the alleged incidents.

Of the total number logged by forces over the last five years, at least 34 resulted in dismissals.

An officer was listed as having either resigned or been dismissed in at least seven cases, while at least six officers would have been dismissed if they had not resigned first.

At least one officer resigned before a misconduct hearing and in another case, the officer was listed as deceased.

Separate publicly available data reveals the Met Police logged more than 500 claims of sexual offences against both officers and members of staff, while Surrey Police recorded 36 allegations of sexual misconduct against its officers over the same period.

It comes after Home Secretary Priti Patel announced an independent inquiry to look into the "systematic failures" that allowed Sarah Everard's killer, Wayne Couzens, to be employed as a police officer.

The End Violence Against Women Coalition, which includes groups such as Rape Crisis, Refuge and Women's Aid, said few officers face "any meaningful consequences" for violence against women and girls.

Deputy director Denzi Ugur said: "We need to see a radical overhaul of how the police respond to violence against women - especially within their own ranks.

"This means greater accountability and urgent, co-ordinated and strategic action to address violence against women.

"Ultimately, we need to address these widespread institutional failings before we can even begin to address women's confidence in the police."

The Independent Office for Police Conduct, which oversees the police complaints system, said it was down to forces to "stamp out" any abuse of police powers.

A spokesperson said: "The abuse of police powers for purposes of sexual exploitation, or violence, has a devastating impact on victims, and a serious impact on the public's confidence in individual officers and the service in general.

"It is critical there are effective systems in place to prevent, monitor and deal swiftly with any individual who exploits that trust.

"In the context of the police service, this behaviour is a form of corruption and should be dealt with as such.

"Each case reported represents a serious betrayal of the trust and confidence that individuals should have in the police. It is behaviour which can never be justified or condoned."

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A Home Office spokesperson said: "As the public would rightly expect, we take police integrity very seriously and have already taken steps to overhaul the police complaints and discipline systems in order to increase transparency and accountability."

THE RESPONSES

These are the responses from 31 police forces in Britain, with some claims relating to more than one officer, though an officer could also be involved in more than one case.

- Avon and Somerset Constabulary:

12 claims relating to 15 officers

Male (11), female (2), unknown (2)

- Bedfordshire Police:

3 claims against male officers

- Cambridgeshire Constabulary:

10 claims, relating to 15 officers

Male (9), female (4), unknown (2)

- Cheshire Constabulary:

10 claims against male officers

- Cleveland Police:

13 claims, no officer sex breakdown given

- Cumbria Constabulary:

29 claims

Male (27), female (2)

- Derbyshire Constabulary:

15 claims

Male (13), unknown (2)

- Devon and Cornwall Police:

29 claims relating to 35 officers

Male (27), female (2), unknown (6)

- Dorset Police:

3 claims

Male (2), unknown (1)

- Durham Constabulary:

17 claims relating to 23 officers

Male (22), unknown (1)

- Gloucestershire Constabulary

7 claims against male officers

- Greater Manchester Police:

158 claims

Male (130), female (11), unknown (17)

- Gwent Police:

2 claims

Female (1), unknown (1)

- Hampshire Constabulary:

38 claims against male officers

- Hertfordshire Constabulary:

27 claims - but sex breakdown only provided for the 26 officers involved in 24 closed cases

Male (21), female (1), unknown (4)

- Humberside Police:

8 claims, no officer sex breakdown given

- Kent Police:

23 claims relating to 25 officers

Male (24), female (1)

- Lancashire Constabulary:

26 claims

Male (25), unknown (1)

- Leicestershire Police:

20 claims relating to 26 officers

Male (at least 20), female (at least 1), unclear (3)

- Lincolnshire Police:

17 claims against male officers

- Merseyside Police:

9 claims relating to 16 officers

Male (14), female (1), unknown (1)

- Norfolk Constabulary:

9 claims

Male (seven), unknown (2)

- North Wales Police:

13 claims

Male (12), female (1)

- Northumbria Police:

31 claims against male officers

- Police Scotland:

64 claims, no officer sex breakdown given

- South Wales Police:

25 claims relating to 26 officers

Male (20), female (1), unknown (5)

- Staffordshire Police:

11 claims

Male (6), unknown (5)

- Suffolk Constabulary:

14 claims relating to 18 officers

Male (14), female (1), unknown (3)

- Sussex Police:

15 complaints

Male (9), female (4), unknown (2)

- Thames Valley Police:

91 claims against 99 police officers and staff

Male (85), female (6), unknown (8)

- Wiltshire Police:

6 claims against male officers

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